by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, The University of South Dakota
You know the phrase “being in the zone”? It is mostly used for athletes to describe the optimal state of consciousness where they feel and preform at their best. From the research I have done, I found getting into “the zone” isn’t just for athletes and is arguably the most perfect state to work from.
Have you had the experience where one minute you’ve finished lunch, started to work on a project and the next minute it’s 7 pm and you have no idea where the time went? It is the mental state where we are so focused and engaged with what we are doing, we produce our greatest results and peak performance happens.
Unfortunately, most coaches have a hard time getting there because they are so distracted by the emails coming in, social media, and all of the interruptions they get.
I know I can’t just show up and expect it to happen. It certainly isn’t going to happen if I am jumping from one task to the next every 3 minutes because I am so easily distracted. Ultimately, there is a way to get a lot of work done in a shorter amount of time, but to do it, I need to be intentional and strategic about creating an environment where I can create total focus, void of distractions.
I’m going to recommend some ways you can get in the work zone to get more quality work done faster and stay there for as long as possible. As I am going through this, think about your ideal work set up, and if there is maybe something you can change.
When Is My Energy Best?
Emails to my top recruits get done first and are worked on in the morning during a time when I have found my energy and focus are really good. I also get interrupted the least.
Get Up And Move
Before I sit down to write, I get up and move around a little just to get the blood flowing. I go to the bathroom or run some errands or whatever. I find that not only does this give me a little jolt of energy, I also have a lot of creative thoughts pop in my head while I am up moving and away from my desk.
Get Everything I Need First
I try and make sure I have all the info I need in one folder. I make sure I have water and my hot chocolate/coffee drink.
Listen To Music
Before I get started, I turn on some music. I have found that for me I get more creative and get into an email flow better when I have music playing in the background versus when it is quiet.
I get my best work done either in my office early in the morning or at home after I have dropped the kids off at daycare.
I schedule a set hour or hour and a half almost every day to do nothing but recruiting emails. I shut my door so I don’t get interrupted. I turn off my auto indicator on Outlook so I am not distracted by new emails coming in. I don’t stop to do other tasks that I remember to do (I write them down on my Master to To-Do list so I get it out of my head but don’t forget to do it), and I turn down the volume on my phone so I don’t hear when a new text message or phone call may come in. Recruiting emails, that’s it.
I try to eliminate as many distractions as I can so I can concentrate all my attention on exactly one thing and one thing only. To reach the state of flow at work you need to be totally focused at your task and not distracted every 3 minutes.
Getting to the point where I am even doing all of this has taken me a few years’ worth of trial and error. The set-up doesn’t take me long anymore because I have been gotten into the habit now. Each step individually helped save some time here and there. When I do all of these things at once, it is like recruiting email nirvana. I love it. I spend a lot less time on my email but I can get so many more emails out. I am more in control of the recruiting process. I am not as overwhelmed anymore. Of course, I still have bad days with it. But adding more structure to the set-up process of doing recruiting emails has saved a lot of time for me.
Mandy Green has a Coaching Productivity Newsletter that goes out every other Sunday. This newsletter is for coaches who have an email overload issue. She shares methods or techniques that she is trying in an effort to process, manage, and keep track of recruiting emails better. If you are interested in joining in on the conversation or if you have something to share please go to www.mandygreencps.com. Opt in and she will send you her newsletter every week it goes out and you can get a FREE copy of the chapter in her Green Time Management For Coaches Workbook called Organize Your Recruiting.